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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 April 2016) . . Page.. 1141 ..


good on them, they are probably going to get the job. But if they do not, we would suggest that they will not.

In my time in the Assembly I have been doing my research and looking at a couple of issues that have seemingly on the surface stunk. I brought a motion to this place relating to lawn mowing of arterial roads in the ACT because there was significant concern that the ACT government saw it as appropriate to contract out the mowing of lawns in the ACT to the Melbourne City Council, that is, Citywide. The contractors that previously held those contracts in the ACT were scratching their heads trying to understand how they could possibly have lost this job. There is no great efficiency when it comes to mowing lawns: it requires a man on a machine to drive it down the street and mow the lawns. But with the revelation of this MOU, it is not surprising to learn that Citywide is the signatory to a union EBA. So you have work going to an out-of-town operator who is a signatory to a union EBA at the expense of small local enterprises.

Those sorts of issues leave people awake at night wondering how on earth they can fairly bid for work in this city when such a disastrous and despicable agreement is in place. To state that it is simply about workers’ rights and workers’ safety is abhorrent. Read the agreement you signed, Chief Minister, because it is much broader than simply talking about workers’ health and safety. It goes much deeper. It goes to who wins contracts at the behest of the unions. It is clearly and simply a veto by the unions above all the elected officials of this government over who has the right to work in the closed shop that is the ACT.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (10.41): There is certainly plenty of politics about this item that is being discussed today and the way this MOU has played out through the press and in the way people have made a range of assertions about it and I think, in that context, we need to look very clearly at the reality and ensure that we are basing our views on the facts and the context of the agreement. There has been plenty of excitement about this since it came to light publicly. The way it was reported certainly got my attention, and the concerns and claims that have been made by industry groups of course ensured that I did take a close look at it, because people certainly raised some points that on the face of it I think most people in the community would be concerned about. I did have to go and read it because, although it is referred to as a government MOU, it has of course not been to cabinet in the time that I have been with cabinet.

I think it is interesting to reflect on the history. We have heard Mr Hanson extensively quoting from Mr Stanhope on this issue this morning. I was ironically amused by the fact that it was, of course, Mr Stanhope that signed the original agreement in 2005. It is always interesting to reflect on the history of these things. I think it is fair to say that it is effectively an MOU between the Labor Party and the unions, given its status.

That said, I do support the intent of the MOU. I think it is fairly plain that its intent is to ensure that government procurement appropriately emphasises workers’ rights and workers’ safety. This is an outcome with which the Greens strongly agree. I also agree that unions in the ACT are a key representative of workers, and they play an


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